Authors I Love: David Sedaris

David Sedaris is one of the funniest writers alive, in my humble opinion. But more than being hysterical, he’s a good writer. He doesn’t make the same jokes over and over, like a lot of “humor” writers; he takes his life experiences, jazzes them up a little, and then writes like you are a good friend and he’s telling you a story at the bar.

David Sedaris is a sassy man.

Look at how wry and witty he is! I love him.

David Sedaris, like Bill Bryson, is the kind of author who makes me laugh out loud uncontrollably. With Bill Bryson, it’s because he got in another scrape on the Appalachian Trail while drinking heavily. With David Sedaris, it’s because he’s recalling that time he worked as an elf at Macy’s, or his incredible difficulty learning French. Sedaris is a master at telling stories that anyone can relate to, even if they involve weird circumstances that do not usually happen to anyone, ever.

The best way to read David Sedaris is with someone else around so you can annoy them with your constant snickering and insistence on reading portions aloud. However, you won’t be able to read said portions because you are constantly snickering. Enjoy.

Me Talk Pretty One Day

This is probably the Sedaris book people are most familiar with. The stories are about music lessons, learning a new language, living in a tiny apartment, and more. I think I’ve lent this book to at least a dozen people, shoving it into their arms while shouting, “For the love of Pete, read this book and be happy!” If you do not laugh during your time with this book, I fear for the future.

Holidays on Ice

This book is a collection of holiday-themed essays, including “SantaLand Diaries,” which is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever read. It also includes a fictional Christmas letter and, among other things, an essay about rescuing a prostitute from her abusive boyfriend. An important thing to note about Sedaris: he’s not out to satirize everything. He has a heart, albeit cynical and sarcastic.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

I think this might be my favorite one, because it contains some more serious essays. David Sedaris is gay, and he and his partner, Hugh, have been together seemingly forever. A few of the essays in this collection deal with homosexuality, like the time Sedaris’s father threw him out of the house, or the time David and Hugh talk about a love story. It’s touching, funny, and really engaging.

Naked

Another great collection with a fantastic balance of short works. The stories include “The Women’s Open,” about his sister’s first period and “The Drama Bug,” about Sedaris’s fascination (and daily use of) florid Shakespearean prose.

All of these collections can be read at once, or you can pick and choose stories if you don’t want to commit yourself to a whole book. I’ve been reading a lot of humorous stuff lately, probably because winter is a bummer. If you need a pick-me-up, David Sedaris is the dude to do it.

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About Amanda K

Amanda K holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies. She's a housewife, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a sewist, and an aspiring gourmet home cook. View all posts by Amanda K

3 responses to “Authors I Love: David Sedaris

  • Alison

    I haven’t read any of his books, but I will certainly do so now. Thanks!

  • Hadrilion

    I started “when you are engulfed in flames” and i’m on the half of it.. Not only it’s almost not funny (100 pages to make me really laugh, 50 to give me a smile), but it’s boring ! At least he’s a good writer, but who cares about his anecdotes ? Each of us has similar stories to tell and share with their friends… but only with their friends ! And not in a book…

    I was not surprised to discover that before he published his stories, he was used to read it to…his friends !

    To give him a chance, as i’m french, i’m reading it in french and maybe the translation is not good enough. I’ll try one in english just to see….

  • pseudowordsmith

    I have read all of his books.
    I can read the stories again and again and laugh out loud every single time.
    He is a great writer and captivating. His wit and perception are marvelous.

    He is my favorite authors, and a great inspiration to me.

    Peace and Love,
    Danie

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